Fertility Infertility Issues

Infertility as defined by the Oxford Advanced Learners Dictionary is the inability to produce by people, animals or plants. But in medicine, a couple is said to be infertile
a.if pregnancy does not result after a year of normal marital relationship without contraceptives or
b.if the woman conceives but aborts regularly.
In the early eighties, about 10% of marriages were infertile. More, recent studies however postulated a higher percentage. The changing dynamics of our society today is responsible for the increase. A report published by the American Society of Reproductive Medicine states that “the average age of child bearing has increased over the past three decades as women have pursued higher education and careers and postponed marriages”. The changing life styles of men (what they do, eat or drink) have not helped matters.

Generally, female infertility may be due to nutritional deficiencies, hormonal imbalance, and developmental anomalies of the reproductive organ, infections or tumors. In Africa,our culture has the erroneous impression that the man is always fertile. Whereas the male partner is at fault in about 40% of the cases. However, male infertility is usually due to sperm deficiencies (low sperm count or azoospermia ie: absence of sperms, morphologic abnormalities, or impaired motility.)
At times both the male and female are found to be morphologically and physiologically normal but yet unable to reproduce.

The remedy for identified infertility can be medical, psychological, sociological or spiritual. The medical science has made tremendous achievements in what is now known as assisted reproduction technology (ART).This includes all kinds of fertility-treatments in which both egg and sperm are handled. According to information from Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, USA, some types of fertility treatments includes:

AI (ARTIFICIAL INSEMINATION) – where the semen is introduced into the female reproductive organs by other than natural means.
GIFT (GAMETE INTRAFALLOPIAN TRANSFER) here the eggs are removed from the woman’s ovary, combining with sperm and using an instrument to place the unfertilized eggs and the sperm into the woman’s fallopian tube.
ICSI (INTRACYTOPLASMIC SPERM INJECTION) this involves a direct injection of a single sperm into an egg in the woman ovary
ZIFT (ZYGOTE INTRAFALLOPIAN TRANSFER) here the woman’s eggs are fertilized with sperm outside her body and the resulting fertilized egg is then inserted into her fallopian tube.
These procedures, novel as they may look, present a battery of risks and controversies.
Some of the likely risks are:

HUMAN ERROR-in the United States, the Netherlands, and Great Britain, fertility clinics have mistakenly mixed up sperm and embryos. In one particular case a couple was given twins of another race and in another case a woman had twins who were of different races.

MULTIPLE BIRTH-it has been shown that multiple embryos transferred into the woman increase chances of premature birth, low weight, stillbirth and long-term disability or deformity.
BIRTH DEFECTS- one study has shown that children conceived through in vitro fertilization have increased risk of birth defects, such as heart or kidney problems,cleft palate and undescended testicles.

MOTHER’S HEALTH- there is increased risk for mothers due to complications from hormonal treatment or a multiple fetus pregnancy.
With all these attendant risks in mind any couple who would want to opt for ART must first of all take a side on their concept of the status of a human embryo. The issue is when does life begin- at conception or later during pregnancy? If you are on the side that agrees that life starts at conception then the following questions will stare you on the face to answer.
*Should one allow doctors to follow the common procedure of fertilizing more eggs than the one or more being inserted ,thus keeping a surplus for future use?
*If the couple became unable or unwilling to have more children, what happens to the stored embryos?
*In the event of divorce or one of the couple dies, what happens to the stored embryos?
*Who will accept to shoulder the responsibility of destroying the embryos?
Even though man may make legislation to the contrary, the Bible (the word of God) indicates that life begins at conception. Psalms 139:16, Jer.1:15
In Lev.18:20, God condemns the use of a man’s semen to inseminate anyone other than his wife, and a woman should not bear a child for someone other than her husband. Consequently true christian believers should avoid surrogate motherhood as well as procedures that involve the use of donated sperms, eggs, or embryos.
There are other moral, ethical and even legal issues involved in the treatments that involve the use donated genetic materials.
*What are the long-term emotional effects that such a birth has on parents when only one them-or neither-is the genetic parent?
*How will a child handle the knowledge that his or her birth resulted from such an unusual conception?
Should the child be informed of his or parentage and so be allowed to look for her biological father or mother?
*What are the moral and legal rights, claims and obligations of the one or more individuals who donated the genetic materials?
Medical science is surely making further breakthroughs in ART and human legislation may evolve to support all the procedures. But as a true Christian your consideration and actions should be determined by what is the viewpoint of God who ordained procreation (Psalms.36:9).This will help you to make decisions that are ethical, moral and that will leave you with good conscience before your God (1Tim1:5).
The Almighty God who ordained marriage has said the there is no barren is his house Gen.2:24.In His wisdom he created man including his reproductive organs. He who created you out of nothing, is He not capable of replacing any malfunctioning or damaged part of the organ? What is needed by couple looking for the fruit of the womb is faith and patience. Wait upon the Lord who makes all things beautiful at His own time. If you faithfully wait on the Lord and in the end you don’t have a child, is it not better to secure your salvation than to engage in a procedure that may cost you your salvation.Mt.6:33